“Help and Hope”

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This past Sunday we celebrated Mother’s Day in our worship service and we had a young Mom and Dad share the challenging journey they have trekked over the past 16 months. As parents of an extreme preemie (baby Jackson was less than 2 lbs and 3 months early) they have endured obstacle after obstacle. In addition to the premature birth of their son, Mom nearly died from pregnancy complications. Needless to say, their testimony about their journey and the blessings God brought them was an inspiration to all. Tears were shed as we listened.
In hearing this report about how God is good in the midst of adversity, it begs the question—“What about adversity?” Most of us avoid it whenever possible. When adversity does strike, we do not like it. Nearly always our reply is: “Why me?” Truth be told, we live in a world where we attempt to insulate ourselves from risk and difficulty. Our culture has grown to believe that we ought to be able to control everything. We are promised that the cure for many diseases are always possible or at least around the corner. Science, Medicine and Technology promises to lead us down a path where all is sunshine and happiness.
While I am the first to celebrate progress and advances in how we can improve life, we must remember that life comes from God. While we live in a World that seems to be discovering new things every day, it is God who has given mankind the capacity for discovery. There is an old saying—“Necessity is the mother of invention.” As I ponder this old proverb, I ask myself: “Have we forgotten the value of being in need?” It seems that when we have endured the darkness of hardship we better appreciate the light. This past week I worked at getting in my annual garden. The plant nursery was packed with people who were commenting—“I’m so glad to see Spring arrive.” We had a long, hard winter this year. This hardship helps us appreciate the blessings of Springtime more.
Most people can accept that trials create strength and character. What I need to remember and accept is that God desires to help us through the trials and storms of life. As the Fleming Garden Church family heard this young Mom and Dad speak of what they had endured, it was encouraging to hear them share how they were drawn closer to God. Experience has taught me that while I can read about the love of God in the Bible, experiencing God’s love is always the best teacher. My understanding of God and his love is strongest when I trust in him as the Hurricanes of life blow hard. Consider the words of Psalm 34:17-18>>”The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” (NIV) No one ever desires to be brokenhearted or crushed in spirit, yet those times will assault us all. What a comfort it is to be reminded that God is with us. We are not alone—we have a God who cares, loves and saves. Keep looking up!